The great thing about photography is that it can show you places you might otherwise never see. Remote towns in post-Soviet countries such as Ukraine and Uzbekistan would for instance qualify for that list. In 2014 Maryam Omidi visited a sanatorium in the mountains of Tajikistan and was blown away by the experience. She contacted a group of photographers specialising in capturing post-Soviet culture and together they set off to visit as many sanatoriums as their budget (raised on Kickstarter) would allow.
USSR sanatoriums were built as a place of relaxation and rehabilitation so that workers could remain efficient and diligent. At their peak they were visited by millions of citizens across the USSR every year through a state-funded voucher system. Dozens of them are still in business.
The book Holidays in Soviet Sanatariums published by Fuel describes these incredible facilities as “a combination of medical institution and spa, the era’s sanatoriums are among the most innovative buildings of their time.” I personally love the plump, brutalist aesthetics of most USSR architecture, especially if it entails weird indoor swimming pools. Say what you will about Stalin, but you can’t deny that he had a keen eye for some pretty poppin’ aesthetics.